TED Conversations

Jean-Charles Longuet

This conversation is closed.

Telling the truth: are there limits?

Two recent talks focused on "Truth" as something good/moral. Practically, however, some information may cause havoc: the Wikileaks diplomatic data disclosure, for example, coulad have put some people at risk.

How should we manage the decision to disclose (or not) such information? Or manage the moral dilemma when telling a lie may have a positive outcome?

[update 2012/11/25] The conversation initially mixed a few things : Truth is something that is not as obvious as it seems, and Lies are more related to a deceiving/manipulative intention that to the hiding of some Truth.

Anyway, all points of views are welcome.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 25 2012: If the truth is bound by limits... who will decide what's acceptable?
    and if you say lies are ok sometimes... who will know when it's not?
    Because all people are different.. and so are their perceptions...

    So.. isn't it a little bit paradoxical to measure truth with 2 weights?
    • Nov 25 2012: I could tell you that I brewed a little more coffee than would fit in my cup this morning and now I am mulling over whether or not to heat up what's left for a second half a cup but that information is not relevant for you. I think it's worth stating that material facts should be included when we ponder telling the truth. For me, when I realized I had an issue with hiding the truth from others I started disclosing more rather than less just for practice. I also believe one's conscience will guide a person what another person probably would want to know. I have also observed a phenomenon in certain social situations (that can be competitive) where people will tell certain people the truth (their "in-group") and withhold the truth from others they consider political threats. In America, at least in my corner of it, this has become "just the way it is."

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.